LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Quincy University men's basketball team understands its margin for error is thin.
Try razor thin.
The Hawks led Bellarmine 21-20 midway through the first half Saturday afternoon at Knights Hall, but with three starters becoming saddled with two fouls apiece at various stages of the half, Quincy simply couldn't keep up. The Knights outscored the Hawks 26-9 over the final nine minutes, catapulting them to a 90-66 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory.
"We had so momentum," QU coach Ryan Hellenthal said. "Then we got three starters in foul trouble and that was all she wrote."
Forced to play three freshmen because of fouls called on juniors Ryan Briscoe, Charles Callier and Tanner Stuckman, the Hawks' offense stalled. They went 2 of 8 from the field and 0 of 4 from 3-point range with three turnovers over the final nine minutes of the first half.
In fact, Quincy (12-12, 6-10 GLVC) made just 3 of 12 3-point attempts in the first half.
"Everything that can go wrong right now is," Hellenthal said. "You've got to find a way out of it. Right now, I don't know how that's going to happen."
Facing top-level teams on the road shrinks the margin for error even more.
Bellarmine (17-6, 10-6 GLVC) came in having lost three straight games and having dropped out of the top-25 national rankings for the first time since 2014, but this also was the team that spent the first two months of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Knights' efficiency on the offensive end was more reminiscent of that.
They shot 52.5 percent from the field overall, 87 percent from the free-throw line and had a 41-27 edge in rebounds. The Knights finished with 19 assists on 31 field goals, turned the ball over just six times and had a 40-18 edge in points in the paint.
They had their share of lucky bounces, too.
"They had two or three 3-pointers bounce multiple times on the rim and go in," Hellenthal said.
Junior forward Viktor Kovacevic led the Hawks with 20 points, going 4 of 7 from 3-point range, while Stuckman had 13 points and Briscoe finished with 10. Stuckman and Callier, the team's top 3-point shooters, were a combined 2 of 15 from beyond the arc.
Bellarmine senior forward Alex Cook led five players in double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds.